A sparrow fights the wind, the wind,
The hot wind from the mountain pass
That pelts the cactus plant with sand,
The needles useless, blades of grass.
The Santa Ana wind starts far
Away in Colorado or
Nevada (nothing there but slots),
A devil wind and more, and more.
The spiders know, the lizards know,
The orange trees and palms abide,
But somehow that dumb sparrow, she
Is on a roller coaster ride.
It’s ugly when a little thing
Goes up to fight that howling force
And slashes wicked up and down
And jigs and jags, all thrown off course.
Perhaps a eucalyptus tree
Somewhere -- Rialto, Riverside --
Is bowing, shaking in the gale,
Its branches thrashing close and wide.
And in that eucalyptus tree
A nest of sparrow chicks holds on;
They don’t know much, they don’t know death,
They know their mother still is gone.
UPDATE: I rewrote the poem, replacing raven with sparrow. Sparrow is a better image, as it is a smaller, less threatening bird. It would also be more believably buffeted by the wind. This should teach me something about posting my poetry too soon.